(Note: the google translation incorrectly translates the figure as a 7% drop. The news article does actually use the number 70%. Not sure why google turns a 70 into a 7).The deception was intended to create the impression that Chinese buyers were still queuing up to buy into Vancouver's teetering real estate market, which has long been fuelled by money from China and is now rated as the second least-affordable city in the world, behind Hong Kong, according to the Demographia consultancy.
While the stunt was roundly slammed, it also reignited a debate among real estate observers: Just how much truth is in the long-standing narrative that foreign money is driving the local market? Anecdotes abound about foreign investors scooping up Metro Vancouver real estate, driving up prices and creating anxiety among locals – a bogeyman haunting the dream of home ownership – but evidence to support such a claim is scant.
Don't get it wrong, all rumours have some basis in fact and the myth of HAM is no different.
But the excessive manipulation of this myth has been a criticism of the online community for years.
As many people now know, Amanda is a young administrative marketing assistant at MAC Marketing Solutions in Vancouver, a company developers hire to flog condos to the rabble. She crossed the ethical line last week when the company tried to (once again) milk the incredibly lazy, gullible and bush-league Van television media...
Of course, this is not the first time. In 2011 you might recall Cam Good, head of The Key – another house-flogging, Van-based professional pumping outfit – hiring a yellow helicopter to ferry around “Chinese investors” with three TV crews stuffed into the back of the chopper. The intentional buzzing of defenceless places like White Rock was intended to goose the myth of HAM – Hot Asian Money – and feed the meme that legions of oriental Donald Trumps were about to gobble up the region, pricing the locals out forever.
But as this blog pointed out days after Global and CBC ran their yellow peril stories, the Chinese dudes were actually Canadian realtors from the burbs, posing as rich vultures from Guangdong. Mr. Good’s company also tried to pass off an employee as a consumer in a weird scheme that brought the Groupon concept to selling condos.
People (Asians, preferably) were offered money, plus lawn chairs, portable heaters, food and porta-potties to camp out in from of a sales centre for 24 hours prior to opening. TV news crews were invited to come and witness the spontaneous news event and the stories they ran begat longer lines, people being the lemmings they are.
The dedicated contributors to the comments section of Vancouver Condo Info show us the reality.
As Garth Turner observes, there have been lots of high-end houses bought by people who made their money in Mainland China, and that will continue. But many of the realtor shenanigans portrayed in our local media as 'news' are nothing more that the work of shrewd marketers out to create anxiety and competition amongst local buyers.
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